One of the first decisions you need to make when deciding to grow green beans is if you want to grow Bush Beans or Pole Beans. Bush Beans are just that....a bush. They do not need some sort of trellis to grow up and they stay low to the ground. Pole beans are a vine and they love creeping and crawling up something. My husband added this trellis to the garden when building our garden boxes and it is one of my favorite things. I love seeing what vegetables love attaching themselves to it and to see how far they decide to grow up. It is a 6 1/2 ft. trellis and usually the green beans can get almost 3/4 the way around. Watching the beans grow and hang is a really fun sight.
One thing we have learned with a trellis is that as the vegetables grow it creates a canopy of shade which can be a good and a bad thing. It takes some planning ahead in the spring to decide what vegetables will survive the late summer and if the green beans or other pole climbing plants will shield lower growing plants from the extra needed sun.
Two other words that are thrown around a lot are determinate and indeterminate. Determinate usually means that the crop you plant is going to be harvested all at once while indeterminate will keep producing over its entire growing season, continually adding new flowers that turn into beans. Bush Beans tend to be a determinate plant with flowers and beans developing at the end of the branches while Pole Beans are classified as indeterminate because the vines will continuously keep growing while adding additional flowers and green beans over a longer period of time.
Bottom line is they are both great! The decision usually rests on what you have garden space for and personal preference. I know people who only prefer the flavor of canning Bush Beans. I love using trellis plants to use my space more effectively. This year I planted Bush and Pole Beans in different spaces and they both have been producing continuously. Go figure! One of my favorite things about gardening is the trial and error and all the surprises a long the way.
When we can't keep up with eating fresh produce I usually do 3 things: share with a friend, freeze or can. Freezing Green Beans is the fastest way to preserve your garden produce if you have the space. Simply break off the ends, blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, cool for several minutes in cold ice water to preserve freshness and color, drain and then package in your favorite freezer bags to store in the freezer (6 mo to a year). I love using a food saver machine because the bags and sucking out the extra Oxygen help protect the food long term and from freezer damage.
What is your favorite way to use Green Beans?